Friday, January 07, 2011

Useless and stupid British police again

They're too lily-livered to tackle real crime. Easy work and soft targets are all they go for. A long way from the British police of old

Musical theatre may not be to everyone’s liking, but Anne-Marie Carroll’s passion for song and dance is hardly a crime. Yet somehow the mother of two aroused the suspicion of vice squad officers on her way to rehearsals with an amateur dramatics society.

The registration number of her company car was recorded by police trying to prosecute kerb crawlers in a red light district. Much to the 45-year-old’s disgust and embarrassment, a police letter was sent to her company and opened by her boss. Fortunately the managing director happens to be Mrs Carroll’s twin brother Nicholas, who realised a mistake had been made.

The strongly worded letter, which began ‘Dear Sir’, stated that West Yorkshire Police had a policy of vigorously investigating and prosecuting offences of kerb crawling in Bradford. It informed the car’s owner that her Volvo estate had been sighted by officers who needed to speak to her as soon as possible to ‘confirm you have not committed any offences’. To add insult to injury, the letter stated that the sighting would be ‘kept on record'.

Mrs Carroll, the family cleaning firm’s sales director, was so infuriated with the ‘lazy policing’ that she has spoken out for fear that men driving company cars could be unfairly accused of kerb crawling. She said police did not stop or question her on the night and failed to establish she was a lone woman and what she was doing.

'My concern is with innocent people who, like me, drive company cars,’ she said. ‘A letter will go to their employers. Being a woman, it removes 90 per cent of the doubt that I was actually kerb crawling. ‘But if I were a man I could protest my innocence until I was blue in the face and people wouldn’t believe me. ‘To send it to someone’s workplace, not knowing who might see it, is irresponsible. ‘It casts aspersions immediately and once that aspersion has been cast there would always be doubt as to what they were doing.’

Mrs Carroll’s parked car was ‘observed’ at 7.30pm on December 9 near the Bradford Catholic Players rehearsal venue in the city’s red light district – where crossbow cannibal Stephen Griffiths stalked his victims. She knew nothing about being caught in the vice squad net until the letter arrived ten days later.

Mrs Carroll added: ‘I drove up to the venue the same way I have for 26 years and parked up outside it. ‘I wasn’t slowing down regularly or acting suspiciously. I was flabbergasted when the letter arrived.’ She said that last year a man from the amateur group was stopped and taken into a police van to explain what he was doing. Police promised not to stop people using the rehearsal room in future, she added.

Mrs Carroll, who lives in Bingley with husband Matthew, 42, an account director, is applying to have the sighting removed from police records.

Superintendent Angela Williams, of West Yorkshire Police, said: ‘The tactic to target the men who solicit women has been used for a number of years ... and with notable success. ‘Letters are sent out following detailed observations of a vehicle’s movements and the registered owner is contacted whether it is an individual or a business.’ Drivers found to have ‘legitimate reason for their activity’ are removed from records, she added.


Must not warn other motorists to slow down in Britain -- and other oppression of decent citizens by British police

A similar prosecution was recently thrown out in the USA and a similar charge against me some years ago in Australia was dropped after it was concluded that no offence had been committed -- JR

There are certainly some forces who could do with a primer in customer service. In Grimsby, for instance, a 64-year-old motorist has been convicted of ­obstruction because he flashed his lights at drivers ­coming in the opposite direction to warn them of a speed trap ahead.

Semi-retired Michael Thompson was accused of perverting the course of justice after being stopped on the A46. Although Mr ­Thompson argued that he was doing his ‘civic duty’, the Crown Prosecution Service took up the case ‘in the public interest’. The court fined him £175, ordered him to pay £250 costs and slapped on a £15 victim surcharge.

Presiding magistrate Jean ­Ellerton said: ‘We found that your flashing of your headlights was an obstruction, we found that you knew this action would cause ­vehicles to slow down and cause other motorists to avoid the speed trap and avoid prosecution.’

And your point is, pet? For years, the Old Bill has insisted that the purpose of speed traps is to encourage safe driving and enforce the speed limit — not to secure convictions and raise money. Mr Thompson’s prosecution blows that argument out of the water.

By warning other drivers of the speed trap, he was encouraging them to slow down and drive safely. So what’s the problem? In what way was he obstructing the police, other than preventing them nicking people? Silly question. That’s exactly why he was prosecuted.

Mr Thompson says that the policeman who stopped him was a ‘Rambo character’ who acted like ‘Judge Dredd’. Sounds about right.

Unfortunately, there are coppers who measure their success by the number of arrests they make, no matter how trivial the alleged offence, not by the number of lives they save or the number of crimes they prevent.

They delight in showing us who’s boss and deliberately antagonising law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. What’s worse is when they are supported by senior officers, the allegedly-independent CPS and, especially, the magistrates who are supposed to uphold justice. This case should never have reached court. And when it did, it should have been thrown out.

A few months ago, I brought you the story of photographer Dave Hogan’s run-in with a stroppy WPC and a probationer in North ­London. He was given a ticket and a ­patronising lecture for using a mobile phone while driving — even though he could prove he was stationary at a red traffic light and hadn’t made or received a call at the time alleged on the summons.

Dave gave in and paid up when he realised it would cost him a ­minimum of £2,000 and a shedload of aggravation to fight the £60 fixed penalty in court. But his faith in the police took a nosedive.

For the past two-and-half months, another motorist has been in a ­running battle with police chiefs after being given a ticket for ­‘driving without a seatbelt’. Austin Musgrave-Brown, 67, ­unfastened his safety belt while he was sitting in stationary ­traffic in Lowestoft, with his handbrake on and his engine switched off, as he waited in a queue for the town’s drawbridge on the A12 to lower.

‘When the bridge came down, I put my seatbelt back on before starting the engine and ­continuing,’ he said. Half a mile later he was pulled over a given a fixed penalty notice. ‘At no time was I ever driving ­without a seatbelt, not one inch,’ said Mr Musgrave-Brown, who has now made an official complaint.

But the officer who stopped him said he might have suffered from whiplash if his car had been shunted from the rear while he was parked and was therefore ­committing an offence.

‘The police have been so over the top with this. Surely the officer could have shown some common sense without treating me as a petty crook. ‘It would have been easy for me to accept everything and not do ­anything about it, but I was appalled at the way I was treated,’ said Mr Musgrave-Brown.

Well done, Suffolk Police. It’s some achievement to make an enemy of a respectable, retired Hoseasons Holidays executive with a clean driving licence.

I know that by tonight, I’ll have received a flood of emails ­containing similar complaints, not just from aggrieved motorists. Proper ­coppers (especially in the CID) are dismayed at the actions of these zealots, who only serve to damage relations between police and the public and make their job ten times more difficult.

The Government keeps telling us the war on motorists is over. But no one seems to have told the Old Bill.


Islam now considered 'a threat' to national identity by almost half of French and Germans, according to new poll

Islam is considered a ‘threat’ by millions of French and Germans to their national identity. A poll by France’s Le Monde newspaper also found a majority in both countries believe Muslims have ‘not integrated properly’. Le Monde ran the results under a headline which brands efforts to get different religious communities to live side by side as a ‘failure’.

France, with seven million, and Germany, 4.3 million, have the largest Muslim communities in Europe. There are 2.4million in Britain.

Last year German Chancellor Angela Merkel conceded that her country’s multicultural society had ‘failed’, while French president Nicolas Sarkozy has also complained about the growing influence of radical Islam.

According to the Le Monde poll, carried out with marketing firm IFOP, 68 per cent of French and 75 per cent of Germans believe Muslims are ‘not well integrated into society’.

Others – 55 per cent in France and 49 per cent in Germany – believe the ‘influence and visibility of Islam’ is ‘too large’, while 60 per cent in both countries say the reason for the problem is Muslims’ own ‘refusal’ to integrate.

Just as crucially, 42 per cent of French and 40 per cent of Germans consider the presence of Islamic communities ‘a threat’ to their national identities.

An editorial in Le Monde adds: ‘As Islam becomes a permanent and increasingly conspicuous fixture of European societies, public opinion is clearly tensing up, though disparities do appear between young and old and between Left and Right wing.’

Jerome Fourquet, of IFOP, said the results ‘go beyond linking immigration with security or immigration with unemployment, to linking Islam with a threat to identity’. Mr Fourquet said he would like to extend the research to countries like the UK, where he believed the results would be much the same.

The threat of terrorism has increasingly been linked with Muslim communities in all European countries since the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and the 7/7 atrocities in London in 2005.

In France, Mr Sarkozy’s government has displayed an increasing hard line towards religious extremism, recently banning Islamic veils.

French foreign minister Michele Alliot-Marie said it was important not to confuse moderate Muslims with radical or fundamentalist parties. She said: ‘The trap set by Al Qaeda was to push us towards a general confrontation, towards a war between the Muslim and Western worlds. We must watch out for anything that goes in that direction. We must not confuse Islam and terrorism.’

The poll questioned 1,600 people in France and Germany last month.


Censoring Huck Finn

Concerned about the closing of the American mind? How about slamming it shut and throwing away the key. Publishers Weekly reports on a new edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to be published without the “n” word:
Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books plan to release a version of Huckleberry Finn, in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that does away with the “n” word (as well as the “in” word, “Injun”) by replacing it with the word “slave.”

“This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind,” said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he’s spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department. “Race matters in these books. It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”

The idea of a more politically correct Finn came to the 69-year-old English professor over years of teaching and outreach, during which he habitually replaced the word with “slave” when reading aloud.

Here’s the joke: These protectors of fragile sensibilities think “slave” is safe from the larger PC police force. I’m in a slightly unique position to know otherwise. In another lifetime, I worked in educational publishing. Political correctness does not inform that industry; it defines it. The purpose of children’s textbooks is to orient kids to a PC worldview.

One time, I worked on a third-grade social-studies textbook for a Southern school district. A few weeks after completing the project — which covered regional history from before Columbus’s arrival to the present day — a directive came from on high: the chapters on slavery, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction had to be reworked. There was, we were told, excessive use of a forbidden word. Dare to guess? Slave. The term, you see, was dehumanizing and had to be replaced with “enslaved person.”

Teaching about slavery without slaves — that’s enlightened, PC education. It never dawned on these kindly censors that making slavery seem less dehumanizing than it actually is only serves to soften the perception of what was a horrific reality. They never considered that prettifying history’s abominations is an insult to those who suffered, a free pass to those who inflicted pain, and a partial guarantor of repeat performances.

Just as it surely does not occur to Prof. Gribben that in hiding behind a safe word he denies the history of a people who endured far worse than classroom awkwardness. He will find out soon enough, once he’s made to understand that “slave” isn’t safe. Words are not meant to be safe, after all. If Prof. Gribben hasn’t learned that from reading Twain, he’s not fit to teach the book in any iteration.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is all about limiting Free Speech. After all, censorship is everywhere. The gov’t (and their big business cronies) censor free speech, shut down dissent and ban the book “America Deceived II”. Free speech for all, especially Mark Twain.
Last link (before Google Books bans it also]: